Yesterday, I taught a student who couldn’t hear the difference between “straight” and “street.” Since our lesson focused on Western hospitality – “how do you take your coffee?” “street!” – this issue came up several times. First, I attempted to correct his pronunciation to no avail. Then, on a piece of scrap paper, I drew a little street with a car on it and an arrow pointing straight up to show him that the two sounds meant different things. This also, did not work. I wrinkled my brow and in a flash, had another idea. Borrowing from today’s youth, I wrote further down on the piece of paper:
“Ah!!! Straight!!!” said my student at last, beaming. “Straight, straight, straight!” He sat back in his chair. “You are very summatto!” he said.